Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

Should NCAA athletes be paid to play?


With the NCAA being a multimillion dollar industry and coaches being well-paid, in addition state-of-the-art buildings and equipment found on many campuses, we were wondering: Shouldn’t the athletes make a bit of money from these revenue streams?


Prior to beginning our research, we felt that the student-athletes should be paid.  We felt that they should be paid for many different reasons. Many coaches are well compensated,  For example, the top 3 college NCAA football coaches make over 5 million a year, with number 1 (Nick Saban, Alabama) making 7.3 million a year (TheRichest, 2013).  This suggests the players should also be paid due to the fact that their skill is what brings thousands of fans out to watch every single week, not only the coaches.

The NCAA’s March Madness tournament pulls in more money in ad revenue than the Super bowl and the World Series combined (Kantar Media, 2014).  In 2013, it cost 1.42 million dollars to purchase 30 second commercial airtime during the final of March Madness. That is an insane amount of money!

Although we believe that the athletes should be paid, but we understand the complexities of the issue.  The students are receiving educations in most cases, they also get the status of being a college athlete which makes them role models.  Many of these athletes  get the chance to play in the best facilities in front of thousands of screaming fans every single week.  We also understand that determining how much each player would make and which sports would get the most money could cause issues amongst different conferences, schools and teams within a school.

So what do you think, should college and university athletes be paid? And if so, how should we go about paying them?

Andrew Hughes, Laura Dougay and Katelyn Peters


Bhandari, N. (2013, November 22). Top 10 Highest-Paid Coaches in College Football. Retrieved March 29, 2015, from

March Madness Generated $1.15 Billion in Ad Revenue in 2013. (2014, March 10). Retrieved March 30, 2015, from

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2 thoughts on “Should NCAA athletes be paid to play?

  1. The debate of whether or not college athletes (NCAA) should get paid or not is a catch 22. Any person can debate either side for it and have evidence to support their opinion. I feel the NCAA is such a successful organization the school presidents are not going to change if athletes get paid or not unless legally forced.

    For the sake of this post I am going to take the side that NCAA players should not get paid. I feel although recruitment can sometimes be unfair for big or successful schools in sport, I think by being able to pay athletes this would give competitive advantage towards the bigger schools who can afford to pay players higher. Paying players would create not only controversy but force the NCAA to decide whether to put in a salary cap or decide how much each player will make. I feel this can create resentment within a team if a new freshman comes into the team making more money then a senior. I believe this would also create resentment on campus as the players contracts would generally be public and might even see a decline in school spirit supporting certain sports because of the salaries these players are making. I also feel if athletes begin to get paid, universities will begin to pull athletic scholarships and force students to pay for their own classes, living etc. I believe athletic scholarships hold players accountable and by loosing that players will be considered “professional” far to young for most and in my opinion ultimately make poor life decisions.

    I would like the NCAA to bend a little and ease on the penalties for players and schools for violating “professional” terms. Things such as signing autographs, lunches with coaches, having an agent should not be considered a violation in my opinion. The NCAA is an established organization and as the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” the idea of changes will not be coming anytime soon. I ultimately believe providing an education is beneficial to most of these young athletes, and if they take the time to learn educational and life skills while attending school before declaring pro that might be more valuable then a paycheque during their university years.

    Cam Braes (3463711)


  2. For the debate that university athletes should get paid to play was very informational. However, I believe that the two systems (NCAA and CIS) should stay exactly the same. I believe by having these two different systems aloud the athletes to decide how much effort they want to put in to their sport. For example, if an athlete wants to be focusing on school, yet still wants to play a sport they’re good at they can join CIS. If the athlete is hoping to become pro they could go the NCAA route. The beauty of having these two different systems, lets students decide which system they want to be a part of. The students are not limited( unless they want to play pro, need to be able to show their skill). However, the only down fall is that the CIS athletes could train just as hard as NCAA athletes. But like I said earlier, that’s a choice the athlete can make.


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